Come January, Toyota will widen the Fortuner line-up with the introduction of a pair of new two-wheel drive variants. We have just driven the automatic-transmission variant and can tell you there is much to get excited about.
But before we get into how the SUV drives, lets take a look at what else is new. For starters, frontal styling gets a major revamp. The larger grille, angular headlights and restyled front bumper do their bit to make the Fortuner look even more Land Cruiser-like than before. There is also a wider intake for the intercooler on the bonnet and new design for the alloy wheels. At the rear, you can identify the new Fortuner by its clear-lens tail lamps.
Inside the cabin, the redesigned centre console now features a six-inch touch-screen (shared with the Corolla and new Innova) which controls and displays the audio system, new DVD player and reverse camera. The steering wheel is also new and now comes with controls for the new Bluetooth telephony function.
See detailed images of the new Fortuner Automatic
The Fortuner’s already comfy front seats now get a six-way power adjust that makes it really easy to find the perfect driving position. Drivers will also notice the revised ‘Optitron’ dials that remain easy to read as before.
Detailed inspection over, time to get moving. Slot the gear lever in D, depress the accelerator and it doesn’t take much time to realise the four-speed torque-converter gearbox complements its torquey 3.0-litre D4-D engine quite well.
Gearshifts are smooth and the ratios are well suited to typical city driving. The ’box is also quite responsive for the most part; yes, there is a mild hesitation to downshift but that is only apparent when you need instant power.
Driving on tarmac there is little to differentiate the two-wheel-drive Fortuner from its four-wheel-driven counterpart. If anything, the steering feels marginally lighter now. The smooth 168bhp engine is as tractable as before and the seamless build of power makes the Fortuner effortless to drive.
As a product, it makes immense sense for city-based buyers to whom SUVs are more a status symbol than a tool for going off-road. While prices are yet to be announced, the Fortuner 2WD automatic will be priced lower than the 4WD model on sale today. Be prepared to see a lot more Fortuners on the road.
Also read: Face-lifted Toyota Innova review
Watch video review here